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Mourners killed in Libya after protesters' funeral

Antigovernment demonstrators faced tear gas and rubber bullets as they rallied Saturday to reoccupy Pearl Square in Manama, the capital of Bahrain. Several protesters were injured during the demonstration.

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Antigovernment demonstrators faced tear gas and rubber bullets as they rallied Saturday to reoccupy Pearl Square in Manama, the capital of Bahrain. Several protesters were injured during the demonstration.

Libyan forces opened fire on mourners leaving a funeral for protesters Saturday in the flash point city of Benghazi, and a medical official said 15 people were killed, with bodies piling up in a hospital and doctors collapsing in grief at the sight of dead relatives.

The deaths pushed the overall estimated death toll to 99 in five days of unprecedented protests against the 42-year reign of Moammar Gadhafi. Government forces also wiped out a protest encampment and clamped down on Internet service throughout the North African nation.

As relatives buried their dead, they fell victim to a mixture of special commandos, foreign mercenaries and Gadhafi loyalists armed with knives, Kalashnikovs and even antiaircraft missiles trying to quell the demonstrations, witnesses said.

Before Saturday's violence, Human Rights Watch had estimated at least 84 people have been killed.

Hospitals ran low on medical supplies and were packed with bodies shot in the chest and head, said the medical official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of fears of reprisal.

Information is tightly controlled in Libya, where journalists cannot work freely, and some of the accounts could not be independently confirmed. Other information comes from opposition activists in exile.

BAHRAIN: Thousands of singing and dancing protesters returned to the capital's central square after Bahrain's leaders withdrew tanks and riot police following a bloody crackdown a day earlier that left 50 injured. The royal family appeared to be backing away from further confrontation after international pressure from the West.

The protesters want the ruling Sunni Muslim monarchy, a key U.S. ally, to give up its control over top government posts and all critical decisions. Shiite Muslims make up 70 percent of Bahrain's 500,000 citizens but say they face systematic discrimination and poverty and are effectively blocked from key roles in public service and the military.

YEMEN: Thousands of antigovernment protesters marched in the capital of Sana. Riot police killed one protester and injured five on the 10th day of unrest in country, a key U.S. ally. The country's leader, Ali Abdullah Saleh, blames the unrest on a "foreign plot."

Protesters demanded the resignation of Saleh, who has ruled the Arab world's poorest nation for 32 years. The main grievances are poverty and corruption.

IRAQ: Several thousand people marched in the city of Sulaimaniyah to protest the shooting deaths of two antigovernment protesters earlier in the week. The protests were directed against Massoud Barzani, president of the three provinces that make up the autonomous Kurdistan region. In Iraq's capital of Baghdad, hundreds of orphans and widows rallied to call on the government to take care of them.

ALGERIA: Algerian police thwarted a rally by thousands of pro-democracy supporters in the capital, Algiers, breaking up the crowd into isolated groups to keep them from marching. An opposition lawmaker was hospitalized after he was clubbed by police. The march came a week after a similar protest brought thousands of protesters and riot police into the streets.

Protesters seek sweeping political reform, including the ouster of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and an end to the state of emergency imposed in 1992 to put down an Islamic insurgency.

Critics complain of massive corruption, high unemployment and social inequality.

EGYPT: A moderate Islamic party outlawed for 15 years, Al-Wasat Al-Jadid, was granted official recognition by an Egyptian court in a sign of increasing political openness after the fall of autocratic President Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt's military-led transition government has promised to lead the country to democracy in several months.

Mourners killed in Libya after protesters' funeral 02/19/11 [Last modified: Saturday, February 19, 2011 10:32pm]
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